As the health care debate continues to rage, conflict ramps up in Syria, and tensions escalate in North Korea, a new congressional caucus is finally taking a bold, bipartisan stand on an issue of tremendous urgency.
USA Today reported that members of both parties have decided to cast politics aside and come together to support the heretofore controversial cause of being nicer to puppies, kittens, and ponies.
"Members of Congress are realizing that protecting animals is not just the right thing to do, it's also developing to become potent politically," Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) told the paper.
Among the bipartisan bills being considered by the newly formed Congressional Animal Protection Caucus: a bill that bans most private possession of big cats (lions, tigers, etc.), one that bans the sale of dogs and cats for human consumption, and one that bans the testing of cosmetics on rabbits, mice, and other animals.
These are all good ideas, and people certainly love animals, making the issues likely political winners.
Still, there's one animal that didn't make the group's list — a species that Congress can't seem to agree needs protecting:
There are over 320 million human beings in the United States and over 7 billion in the world. Many live in unimaginable conditions, struggling to find food, maintain shelter, and survive in hostile environments. For a caucus ostensibly devoted to animal welfare, leaving this species off its list seems an incredible oversight.
Here are a few ways the caucus could add the large primate to its agenda.
1. A bill that would make it easier for doctors to treat human beings when they're sick.
Over 28 million human beings in the United States don't have health insurance, without which many of the omnivorous great apes fall ill and die. What's more, Congress recently considered legislation that would have taken it away from 24 million more of them.
Perhaps the caucus can look into this.
2. A bill to help feed human beings who have trouble feeding themselves.
Last year, members of Congress proposed slashing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (aka food stamps), which provides nutrition to members of the bipedal hominid species who might otherwise go hungry.
If the bipartisan group is truly invested in easing the suffering of creatures large and small, expanding, rather than contracting, the species' access to sources of food is a great place to start.
3. A bill that would allow human females to access reproductive medical care.
On April 13, 2017, President Trump signed a bill allowing states to deny funds to organizations that treat diseases specific to human beings with uteri and cervixes and help them decide whether and when to reproduce.
The caucus might want to consider making it easier for these anthropoid females to not get cancer and make these decisions for themselves, which could ultimately boost their survival rate.
4. A bill that prevents law enforcement officials from abusing human beings.
In the last several years, dozens of videos depicting the graphic abuse of human beings by police officers have gone viral. In response, the Justice Department and local police departments launched a series of internal reviews — which Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering suspending, claiming they "reduce morale."
If the caucus is indeed considering a national animal cruelty bill, they should at least add humans to the list of species whose abuse will be penalized, no matter the status or uniform of the person doing the abusing.
5. A bill that would let humans move from a country where they're being killed in large numbers by other humans to one where they're safe.
Six years ago, the Syrian government began exterminating members of the species with bombs and poison gas, sending millions stampeding in the direction of the border. Yet much of the world remains surprisingly unconcerned about the hordes of human beings fleeing certain death. In fact, President Trump recently signed an executive order preventing them from settling in the United States.
The caucus should consider passing some sort of legislation that not only overturns this order, but brings more members of the threatened species here to live in safety.
Protecting human beings isn't as much of a slam dunk political winner as, say, laws that require feeding horses aged ribeye and giving every puppy a flower crown.
But hey, as long as Congress is saving animals, might as well give it a shot!
'Cause unlike dogs, cats, hyenas, cockatiels, and white Bengal tigers, human beings vote.